Friday Links – Halloween Edition

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Happy Halloween from the Abnormal Use law blog and Gallivan, White, & Boyd, P.A.! We hope that our lawyers readers will pause today from their depositions and drafting to celebrate the day, eat some candy, and seek out non-case related scary things. While we usually post legal tidbits at the end of each week, today is no ordinary edition of Friday Links. Today, as we have done in the past, we showcase the home of one of our law firm’s partners and the festive decorations he has prepared for the occasion. Take a look!

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You may remember that last year for Halloween we shared a similar round of photographs from this very same home. Compare and contrast them, if you wish!

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Please, everyone, be festive, and most importantly, be safe on this fateful Halloween night. We’d love to hear your Halloween stories, as well, so comment below, if you like.

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Abnormal Use Authors To Speak At McDonald’s Hot Coffee CLE in Charlotte on November 19

As you know, we here at Abnormal Use have written a good bit about the infamous Stella Liebeck McDonald’s hot coffee case. Well, if you’re in Charlotte, North Carolina in November, you can see Abnormal Use writers Jim Dedman and Nick Farr speak in person about the case at an upcoming CLE sponsored by the Mecklenburg County Bar Association.

Come join us if you’re nearby! Here’s the info (straight from the MCBA website):

20 Years Later: The Truth Behind the McDonald”s Hot Coffee Trial

Wed., Nov. 19, from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

CLE Credit:
1.5 General Hours

Fees:
$110 Attorney CLE/Reception Rate
$55 Paralegal Rate/Reception

Location:
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
4150 Yancey Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28217

Special Info:
3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Registration
3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. CLE Training
Networking Reception to Follow CLE

Program Planners:
James M. Dedman, IV, Partner, Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.

Program & Speakers:
3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
James M. Dedman, IV, Partner, Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.
Recap of the basic facts of the case and the effort to dispel some of the broader myths that have arisen over the years regarding the “hot coffee” litigation.

4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Nicholas A. Farr, Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.
Liability and Damage Issues – Defense Lawyer’s Perspective

4:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Andrew Fitzgerald, Wall Esleeck Babcock LLP
Liability and Damage Issues – Plaintiff Lawyer’s Perspective

To register, and earn CLE credit, click here.

South Carolina Lawyers: Update Your Information on AIS

South Carolina lawyers will recall that last year the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered them to update and verify contact information in the Attorney Information System (“AIS”). In fact, we here at Abnormal Use blogged about that very issue back in November of 2013. Well, South Carolina attorneys are now being required to verify and update their information again in the AIS system before January 1, 2015. According to an email sent this week:

Under Rule 410(g) and (l)(1) of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (available at www.sccourts.org/courtreg ), members of the South Carolina Bar and Foreign Legal Consultants must verify and update all of their information in the Attorney Information System (AIS) prior to paying their license fees. For the license fees that are due January 1, 2015, this update and verification must occur between October 20, 2014, and January 1, 2015.

The AIS may be accessed at www.sccourts.org/ais. Your user name is your bar number (minus any leading zeros) and the password is the password that you selected earlier. Once logged on to AIS, if your password is expired, you will immediately be prompted to update your password and security questions. You will be provided with detailed information on the complexity required for the password.

Please remember to review and update your contact and other information in AIS. You are reminded that the contact information in AIS, including the required e-mail address, is your official contact information. Rule 410(e), SCACR (“The mailing and e-mail address shown in the AIS shall be used for the purpose of notifying and serving the member.”).

To complete the verification process, please return to the “Attorney Contact Tab” and click the “Save and Verify” button at the bottom of the page. This completes the verification process.

Our advice: Hurry up and complete this task before the holidays arrive, lest it get lost in the shuffle.

Friday Links

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Above, you’ll find the cover of Impulse #36, published not so long ago in 1998. The bailiff is apparently administering the oath to the witness, who replies “Uh, yeah, sure, whatever,” which no doubt prompts the ire of the judge. The witness is apparently Bart Allen, also known as Impulse and also known as Kid Flash. Here’s the somewhat confusing summary of the issue from Comicvine: “Impulse shaves all his hair off and uses a wig to put on while he’s Bart. Bart is part of the court session case of the toxic waste dumpers. Impulse meets the Song of Justice.” Whatever the case, we doubt the judge will put up with these antics for long.

As you may recall, the Marvel comic book superhero She-Hulk is a practicing attorney. So, we were saddened to learn that the She-Hulk comic book series has been canceled. You may recall that we interviewed Charles Soule, the lawyer and comic book author who wrote that series. You can access that interview here.

Whoa! Did you see the new trailer for Avengers 2? If not, click here immediately.

Don’t forget! You can follow Abnormal Use on Twitter here and on Facebook here! Drop us a line!

A Post-Riley Analysis: Smartphone and Social Media Discovery

As you know, we here at Abnormal Use love writing and blogging, so much so that our editor Jim Dedman is now contributing posts to other venues.  Recently, his piece, “A Post-Riley Analysis: Smartphone and Social Media Discovery,” was published in the October 2014 issue of the Defense Research Institute’s For The Defense magazine. In the piece, he explores the potential civil implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Riley v. California, 573 U.S. ___ (2014),  in which the Chief Justice Roberts noted the extent to which we now utilize our smartphones and the privacy interests at stake in any search of such devices. The article recognizes that those very privacy interests may alter the way in which courts analyze social media and smartphone discovery.

Here’s the first bit of the article:

Litigants now live much of their lives online or through the prism of their smartphones. Knowing this, defense lawyers often attempt to obtain as much digital discovery as possible in an effort to impeach the claims of a plaintiff, whether it is in the form of social media discovery or information extracted from a smartphone. Despite the fact that plaintiffs’ lawyers now warn their clients of such efforts, plaintiffs still live their lives online at the risk of their recovery in their lawsuits.

With state and federal courts now routinely ruling upon the permissible scope of such discovery requests, defense counsel must be aware of the potential backlash against these efforts in light of increasing concerns about the private nature of such information, and especially those recently expressed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

For the rest of the article, you’ll need to find a copy of this month’s issue of DRI’s For The Defense. For some of you, this issue is waiting in your inbox right now. Check out page 60.

Friday Links

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 Above you’ll find an issue of Judge Dredd Classics which was released in conjunction with Free Comic Book Day in 2013. Note that the title character is reading a book called The Law, although the spine of the book in question suggests that it concerns copyright infringement. Light reading, eh, Judge Dredd? Are there other comic book covers that depict law books or legal treatises? Surely, there are not many. (By the way, we previously mentioned Judge Dredd here).

Did you know that this past week saw the twentieth anniversary of the release of Pulp Fiction? How can two decades have passed?

Over at The UT History Corner blog, you can learn about a 110 year old feud between engineering and law students. Let’s hope there’s a movie.

A helpful iPad tip from Jeff Richardson over at iPhone J.D.: “Don’t let your iPad ring in court!” Good advice, that.

Our favorite legal tweet of late is one from mid-September which we only discovered this past week. Here goes:

Abnormal Interviews: Daniel Hartis, Author of “Beer Lover’s The Carolinas”

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Today, Abnormal Use continues its series, “Abnormal Interviews,” in which this site will conduct interviews with law professors, practitioners and makers of legal themed popular culture. For the latest installment, we turn to Daniel Hartis, author of the new book, Beer Lover’s The Carolinas, a handy and thorough guide to breweries, beer pubs, and other great beer joints in North and South Carolina. As we have previously noted, we here at Abnormal Use enjoy and remain proud of the beer scene in the Carolinas. Plus, we interviewed Daniel once before, shortly after the publication of his first book, Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing In The Queen City. (You can revisit that interviewed – published not so long ago in July of 2013 – here.). When we learned that Daniel had written a new book, we knew, of course, that we’d request another interview. So, once again, he was kind enough to submit to an email interview, which appears below.

ABNORMAL USE: This is a book that likely could not have been written five or ten years ago. What do you feel has been the most exciting change in the Carolinas that has allowed the craft beer industry to flourish?

DANIEL HARTIS: There are many things that you could point to, but if I had to choose one, I’d credit North Carolina’s Pop the Cap movement. This bill passed in 2005 and allowed breweries to brew beers with an ABV as high as 15 percent, whereas before, they were limited to brewing beers at six-percent or under. Can you imagine how difficult it was to brew entire styles of beer, like high-gravity Belgian styles, imperial stouts or double IPAs? It wasn’t even possible in this state before Pop the Cap passed.

South Carolina passed similar legislation, as well, and two recent pieces of legislation – the Pint Bill and the Stone Law – have also been critical in allowing for continued growth in that state. Before the Pint Bill’s passage, you couldn’t go have a pint at a brewery – you had to go on a tour and have small samples. With its passage in 2013, SC breweries became destinations where you could visit to enjoy a maximum of four pints. In that same vein, the Stone Law – which passed earlier this year in an effort to lure Stone Brewing’s East Coast brewery to the state – allowed brewpubs to distribute their product and breweries to serve food. Like the Pint Bill, breweries have responded to these changes almost immediately, with several doing whatever they need to take advantage of the increased freedoms.

AU: What plans, if any, do you have to update the book as new breweries, bottle shops, and brewpubs continue to open throughout North and South Carolina?

DH: While I haven’t spoken to the publisher about it yet, I do know that they like to do new versions of books in the Beer Lover’s series every two to three years, depending on the market. The beer scene in the Carolinas is growing at such a tremendous rate that I’m sure they will want to update it in a year or two.

AU: How is it different for you when you visit a brewery or brewpub as a writer and reviewer than as a regular patron?

DH: As a writer, I make it a point to take note of a little more than I would as a regular patron, in which case I might be content to simply sit and enjoy a beer. Knowing that I’m writing for an audience who might not always share my taste in beer, I try as many of the brewery’s beers as possible (it’s a tough job, I know). Then instead of casting judgment on the beers by saying they are good or bad, I try to describe what I’m tasting and let the readers decide if the beer sounds good to them. Taste is subjective, after all. Fortunately the Carolinas are home to many great breweries producing a wide variety of styles, so there really is something for everyone. Aside from trying to be objective about beers, I try to take notes on the ambiance and environment of the places. Beer is the reason you go to these breweries, but at the same time, it’s only a part of the experience. I hope through my descriptions to help readers visualize these breweries and give them a taste of what they can expect. When I could, I would speak with the owners and brewers to get more information: what’s their philosophy on brewing, what’s their history, that sort of thing.

AU: There are many South Carolina beers currently unavailable for purchase in North Carolina, and vice versa. Why is that, and what is the biggest challenge faced by brewers who wish to distribute their beers in a neighbor state?

DH: I think it just comes down to the additional costs with having to distribute in another state – not to mention many of these breweries simply do not produce enough beer to get too far out of their own city, let alone state. That being said, I do think we’ll see breweries making the jump more frequently now, especially after building enough of a following in their respective areas. I heard recently that Lancaster’s Benford Brewing is looking to make the jump into North Carolina soon, and I think we’ll see other SC brewers following suit as well. Likewise, some North Carolina brewers are moving south as well (Green Man, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and NoDa Brewing are just a few that have recently started distributing in South Carolina).

AU: Besides your own website, Charlotte Beer, what sites should readers visit to keep current on issues affecting the craft beer industry in the Carolinas?

DH: With the growing interest in craft beer and breweries opening up seemingly every other week, many publications around the Carolinas are devoting more coverage to craft beer. Tony Kiss is reporting full-time on beer for the Asheville Citizen-Times and The Greenville News. You can also find Thom O’Hearn doing good work in Asheville at the Mountain Xpress. Here in Charlotte, Matt McKenzie does a good job covering the local beer scene with Charlotte Magazine’s On Tap blog, and Jonathan Wells has taken over as beer writer at Creative Loafing. Those are more of the traditional outlets, but there’s a lot of good beer coverage in blogs as well. The NC Beer Guys cover news, events and brewery happenings pretty exhaustively in North Carolina. In South Carolina, you have to follow Beer of SC and Drink. Blog. Repeat.

AU: What was the biggest challenge in attempting to visit and describe all of the breweries and brewpubs in North and South Carolina?

DH: I think it was just that: attempting to visit all of the breweries. I wanted the book to be as authentic as possible, meaning I wanted to visit as many places as humanly possible in a very short timespan. (I had just three months to write the book). I didn’t want to comb through things that had already been written; I wanted to visit these places firsthand to get my own impressions and observations, and I also wanted to make sure we got high-quality photos where possible (Eric Gaddy of Casting Shadows Photography did some excellent work in that regard). I’m so used to writing online and being able to update things on the fly, that it killed me to know that some breweries would open up after the book went to print. I knew that it would impossible to keep a printed product completely up-to-date, but I still agonized over it. I am proud to say that we visited several breweries in planning at the time that I knew would open up between the time I submitted the manuscript and the time the book was printed. Overall, I’m proud with how comprehensive the book is and look forward to adding even more breweries whenever the time comes to do a second edition.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

AU: What was your first craft beer, and what was it about that beer that made you starting thinking about beer differently?

DH: I guess it depends on your definition of craft beer. I really hated “big beer” and thought I didn’t like beer period until I started drinking Yuengling, which I enjoyed. When I moved to Asheville, NC to go to school, some friends and I stopped by Asheville Pizza. I told the waitress I’d try whatever their most popular beer is, and she brought back Shiva IPA. I’d like to tell you it opened up a whole new world for me, but I thought it was disgusting and abrasively bitter. My palate just wasn’t ready for it at the time, even though today I think it’s a great beer. Maybe a year or so later, UNC Asheville’s school paper asked me to write about the town’s microbreweries. This is where I got hooked. The one beer in particular that did it was Highland Brewing’s Oatmeal Porter, which I enjoy to this day. I’d never had a dark beer before then, and so it really opened up my eyes and sent me on my craft beer journey. (More on these earlier experiences,  as well as the article I wrote for UNC Asheville’s Blue Banner, can be found in “How I Came to Drink (and Write About) Craft Beer.”)

AU: If you could dispel any misconception about the craft beer industry, what would it be?

DH: There are lots of misconceptions about craft beer. Some that I encounter most often are that craft beer is too bitter or too heavy. That’s painting with a broad brush. The truth of the matter is that there is no more diverse a beverage than beer. From hoppy to malty to savory to sweet to sour to roasty to light – these are just a handful of the seemingly endless adjectives that we use to describe beer. I sincerely believe there is a beer out there for every palate.

AU: Cans or bottles?

DH: Cans have become trendy these days, but for good reason: they protect against light and oxygen better than bottles, and can be taken places where glass cannot. All things being equal I’ll say cans, though I’d never begrudge a good beer in a bottle.

BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Hartis is the founder of CharlotteBeer.com and the author of Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City. His latest book, Beer Lover’s The Carolinas, was published by the Globe Pequot Press earlier this year. When he’s not writing about beer, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. You can follow him on Twitter at @CharlotteBeer.

Friday Links

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 You know, we’re a little surprised that we’ve never before seen the cover of Marvel Two-In-One #37, published back in 1978. How could we have missed this? On the cover, Daredevil’s alter-ego, Matt Murdock, is apparently defending Ben Grimm, The Thing, in court. Matt’s not doing too well, quite frankly. In fact, the judge exclaims, “You’re Guilty,  Benjamin Grimm! I sentence you to 20 years!” Sensing the potential malpractice claim, Murdock thinks to himself, “I defended The Thing . . . and . . . lost!” Call the carrier, Mr. Murdock!

Good news: Fleetwood Mac is coming to the Carolinas.

Rest in peace, Jan Hooks.

Our Stuart Mauney has spent a good bit of this week at the ABA 2014 National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs. Of course, he’s been live tweeting the event. You can follow Stuart on Twitter and see his conference related tweets here.

Speaking of Twitter, our favorite legal tweet of late comes from Popehat:

Social Media Perils: Attempted Impeachment By Blog Post?

Well, it finally happened.

We have long suspected that someday it would happen, but recently, it finally did happen.

Of course, we are referring to the possibility that an opponent in litigation might cite to our blog in an effort to defeat our argument in a motion hearing.

We’ve been blogging here at Abnormal Use for more than four and a half years, and it has finally come to be.

The scene was thus: I arrived at a county courthouse relatively early, as I like to have a few moments to myself before court convenes to review my notes and any case authority once more before the hearing begins. Lawyers were beginning to enter the courtroom, although the judge had not yet arrived. I was there to argue a motion which was opposed by counsel for the plaintiff as well as other parties in the litigation. As fate might have it, the issue was being litigated that day was a relatively novel one, and there was not a wealth of authority on the particular common law issue in dispute. Counsel for one of the non-movants came into the courtroom, and as we had not previously met in person, we introduced ourselves and exchanged the customary pleasantries. We even chuckled about a few events in the case, as lawyers sometimes do before a hearing, and we then sat down – apart from each other, of course, so that we could finalize our preparations for the imminent hearing. Put another way, we had to get into character.

A few moments later, counsel for the non-movant looked back and raised a packet of notes in the air. Atop the stack was a color printout of a blog post from this website.

The conversation began.

“I guess I am supposed to show you this,” counsel for the non-movant said.

“What’s that?” I replied, not yet seeing what my opponent held before me.

“My associate found this for me. It’s from your blog.”

“Oh?” I asked, now realizing that what the opposing lawyer held was a printout from our blog and seeing several highlighted paragraphs from the post in question.

She read me the title of the post, and I immediately realized that it was not one that I myself had written. Getting a closer look, I saw that the post had run in our blog’s very early days – 2010! – and that the post in question was more in the form of a case summary than an argument on behalf of a legal principle.

“I’ve never had anyone cite my blog against me,” I said. “However, I don’t think that’s one of my posts.”

Looking disappointed, counsel for the non-movant gave the printout a closer look and realized that the author was another attorney.

“Oh, you’re the editor of the blog.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

Counsel for the non-movement seemed a bit crestfallen, as if this particular arrow in the quiver was suddenly less effective or appealing.

Ultimately, the blog post was not used during the hearing.

So, in the end, we suppose that we dodged this particular social media peril. But we knew something like this would happen someday.

Friday Links

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As you know, we here at Abnormal Use love courtroom themed comic book covers. After posting comic book covers for nearly five years, though, we are always on the lookout for ones we’ve missed. Well, we’re not entirely certain what is occurring on the cover of My Secret Life #26, published way, way back in 1958. We have a witness either taking or leaving the witness stand, a judge apparently about to strike his gavel, and a mysterious hand, perhaps that of a lawyer, holding a pair of glasses.

Did you watch “Bad Judge” last night? If so, any thoughts? If you missed Nick Farr’s review of the first two episodes, click here.

You know, since today is the first Friday in October, perhaps it is a good day to revisit U2′s October album, released way back in 1981.

Our favorite legal tweet of the week is, of course, related to famed cartoon lawyer Lionel Hutz: